Maybe it’s the suspensions. Maybe it’s the angst over the offensive line. I’m not certain. But I know I haven’t been doing my usual job about spring practice in one particular way. And it’s that special way that says spring practice is really here.
So, without any further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you… the triumphant return of happy talk!
You know you’ve craved it. It’s part of what makes Georgia football Georgia football.
Let’s start with the guy whom I most want to see step his game up to the next level, Cornelius Washington. This spring, he’s been playing with his hand in the dirt. And he’s turning heads.
“This offseason workouts, he’s working on his flexibility and you can see the difference,” inside linebacker Christian Robinson said. “He’s changing direction better. He looks a little better, too. Now he has his hand in the dirt a little bit more. I can expect him to have that speed advantage on people. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
Georgia coach Mark Richt singled out Washington last week as a player who has been a difference maker in the first half of spring practices.
“One guy in particular that’s just been showing up every day in my opinion is Cornelius Washington,” Richt said. “Just really physical at the point and pretty dominant against the run. Certainly doing a good job rushing the passer as well as always, but really seeing a lot of good things from him.”
And Washington’s got the back at-cha going with his defensive teammates, which is nice.
“I’ve had some pretty good practices and I’ve shown some potential at this new position, but, man, the defense overall has been kicking behind,” Washington said. “And that’s what we’re used to, we’re used to kicking butt. We’re going to go out and do that every day in practice and keep the tradition going of a hard-nosed defense that gets the job done.”
You know you want to dismiss that, Mr. Trying To Be Cynical. But you can’t, at least not completely. Plus, we’re just getting started.
The guy who’s really dishing out the smiles is Tavarres King. He sounds like the happiest player on the team these days. This first bit of praise is classic.
Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Marlon Brown continues to draw raves from teammates and coaches during practice.
The latest to bestow praise was fellow receiver Tavarres King, who was asked after Tuesday’s practice which teammate had impressed him the most.
“Really, somebody that I love and somebody that gets better every camp and every spring is Marlon Brown,” King said. “That guy gets so much better every time he steps on the football field. He wants to be the best, he wants to be the best at his craft. When I see him do things out there it pushes me. And vice versa. We tell each other if we’re doing something wrong or something right. He’s really come a long way as a receiver. I’m extremely proud of him, I’ve watched him grow and it’s amazing.”
It was then pointed out to King that we have heard this often about Brown. Great practices, great springs, great preseasons, but it hasn’t quite come together in the season. What makes this time different?
“It’s mentally. I just feel like he’s a completely different person,” King said. “He’s just attacking defenses, he’s not indecisive. He’s very deliberate with what he’s going to do. He just makes a decision and goes with it. He’s such a big guy that when he makes a decision and goes with it, it’s hard for him to be stopped. So I think that he’s got that in his head now, that he’s a big fella and he can play receiver.”
Well, that’s worked at Georgia Tech.
Brown isn’t the only one who’s caught King’s eye.
… King was also asked which young guy has impressed him the most. The answer was freshman tailback Keith Marshall.
“He’s smart man. I think that goes a long way, playing his position and playing in this league,” King said. “If you’re smart and you can pick up on the playbook and pick up on what defenses are trying to do, it enables you to be a great player. And I think he’ll be a very important piece in this offense.”
I really do love this stuff.
Finally, from Aaron Murray, there’s this.
More praise for teammates: Quarterback Aaron Murray was talking up safety Shawn Williams.
“If you had to name I think the best player on the defense, you’ve gotta bring him into that category,” Murray said. “Because he’s a special player right now. He’s having a heck of a spring so far.”
Admittedly, Williams is a badass, so I’m gonna have to cut Aaron a little slack here. There’s no rule that says some happy talk can’t be true.
I hope you feel better now. I know I do. Let me know if you crave more.
UPDATE: Jarvis Jones speaks.